The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued an orange alert for air quality in several counties. The alert is effective from 3 until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, May 11.

Counties included in this alert are Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Rock, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Columbia, Sauk, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Adams, Juneau, Calumet, Winnebago, Waushara, Brown, Outagamie, Waupaca, Portage, Wood, and Marathon.

The alert is for ozone, a gas formed when sunlight reacts with pollutants in the air. Ozone can cause various health problems, including respiratory irritation, coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. It can also make breathing difficult for people with asthma or other lung diseases.

What should you do if there is an air quality alert?

The DNR is urging people in the affected counties to take steps to protect their health, including:

  • Reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
  • Staying indoors if possible.
  • If you must go outside, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • Avoid exercising near busy roads or other areas with high levels of air pollution.
  • If you have asthma or other lung diseases, take your medication as prescribed.

The DNR will continue monitoring and will issue alerts if necessary.

What does an orange alert mean?

An orange alert means that the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups. This includes people with asthma or other lung diseases, children, and older adults. People in these groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

What is ozone?

Ozone is a gas that is made up of three oxygen atoms. It is found in the Earth’s atmosphere, but human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, also produce it. Ozone can be harmful to human health, and it can also damage plants and animals.

Why is there an alert system?

The DNR issues air quality alerts to warn people about the potential health risks of high levels of air pollution. The alerts are based on the Air Quality Index (AQI), which measures air pollution. The AQI ranges from 0 to 500, with lower numbers indicating cleaner air and higher numbers indicating more polluted air.

How does ozone impact people?

Ozone can irritate the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. It can also cause respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. Ozone can also make asthma worse.


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